Monday, June 20, 2011

An evening unlocking myself

I'm used to waddling in the muddy waters of time concerning others, so it was a rare treat having it done to me...

A quick train ride into the country, the mouth of the Hudson opening wider and wider. A car ride to a 100 year old house with the cousin who fled my home city forty three years before, whom I didn't meet till I came running in her footsteps.

Dusty boxes and plastic containers full of pictures of people I heard of but never met to be sent in pieces to the cousin in Virigina to scan so that others can have them too.

" If he doesn't send these back, I'm going after him."
 she says over her glasses.

 She labels, and I type and listen to stories weaved in between..

"Papi always dressed like a professor no matter what he worked at, and no one could eat till he came home for dinner.. which included salad which in those days meant a slice of tomato, iceberg lettuce and mayo".      

"grandma came from Ireland, I always wanted to go over but never did. She was a nurse, ironic that the same hospital she met her husband, her son would be nursed back to health by his ex-wife's new husband, Uncle Kei some forty years later."

the great-great grandmother whose story I only heard in pieces growing up..

"she fled up to Maryland....he was stabbed, as you know interracial marriage wasn't exactly accepted back then. No one was allowed to ask where she came from or how she met him.."

"....funny how families carry learned behaviors and cultures..atleast you and I stop the pattern in its tracks"

thirty six years apart, but strikingly the same, guess some patterns don't change...

people constantly running, the white woman who ran north only to have three out of four grandsons and one grand daughter head back to place she didn't want to be. And her great-great grandchildren wandering all over...
after a day of unlocking ourselves and worn out, a spur of the moment drive to the next town over for food...                      

then finally heading home, possessing equal questions and answers, and more mystery in those boxes.


bucko said...

Beautiful! Those images alive again--flashes of new smiles and stockings and hands. Sharing with a cousin...just doing that this past year too! I have shots of prim aunts vamping as teens, girls on holiday in the fifties, my father as the shy handsome stranger reading a hook in the midst of giddy in-laws. Thanks for showing your journey!

Alana said...

thanks for reading! Isn't it funny how you can see a bit of yourself through someone else? And those shots can speak volumes at times!